Графични страници
PDF файл

process combines with the water; and, if the neutral fluid is preserved in a well-closed glass-vessel, it may be kept for many weeks, without exhibiting any precipitation of silica. But if it is exposed to the air, or, better, if the solution is heated in an. open vessel, it is decomposed in proportion to the escape of the carbonic acid, and the siliceous earth is deposited on the walls of the vessel in a gelatinous state. This result shews, that the great quantity of silica met with in many mineral springs, particularly hot springs, is held in solution by carbonic acid. It is true, that we cannot in this way explain how the siliceous earth was first dissolved,-for the generally received opinion, that the earth is simply washed cut of the strata in the vicinity of the springs, is, according to Karsten, untenable.


4. Tit-Lark caught at Sea.-I have, at this moment, before me (says Dr Traill of Liverpool) extracts from the journal of my intelligent friend Captain Andrew Livingston, which, among other things, notices, that a small bird alighted on the brig Jane of this port, in Lat. 47° 4' South, Long. 43°19′ West, on September 11. 1825. It was caught, and when examined here, proved to be the common tit-lark (Alauda pratensis.)

[ocr errors]

5. Egyptian Antiquities in Liverpool Museum.--We have in our Museum, many fine Egyptian antiquities; among these is a beautiful papyrus, found in the hand of a mummy. It is upwards of 20 feet in length, the hieroglyphics beautifully executed, and interspersed with numerous pictures. One of these is a representation of the Egyptian Last Judgment, as described by Diodorus Siculus; in which the spirit of the deceased is ushered by a genius before the god Thoth, who sits with his tablets writing down the result of a trial, then before him, in which the deeds of the deceased are weighed in a balance, the vibrations of which are intently watched by Cerberus. In an upper compartment, the happy issue of the trial is announced by the introduction of the human spirit, under the guidance of the same genius, to Osiris. We have an unrolled head of a mummy, a young female, with high thin nose, and long auburn ringlets, confirming the opinion of Cuvier, Blumenbach, and others, that the Egyptians (of the era, at least, of this mum


my) were not Negroes. We have also several mummies shoes, and a beautiful sandal of plaited palm leaves, all which are made "right and left," so that even this modern fashion has had an Egyptian origin. I have, in my possession, several Egyptian antiquities, among the rest an exquisite bronze figure of Harpocrates, with his finger on his lips, and the sacred beetle on his head. The contour of the body, and grace of the head, are quite Grecian.-Letter from Dr Traill.

6. Notice regarding the Common Star-Fish, Asterias rubens. On the 6th of March last year, M. Eudes Deslongchamps observed the beach at Colville to be covered with starfish. When the waves retired, and there was still an inch or two of water upon the sand, he saw them rolling out in the form of balls, which, on examination, he found to consist of five or six individuals, closely united and clinging together by their rays. In the centre of each of these balls was a full grown specimen of Mactra stultorum. The asteria were arranged along the edge of the valves, which were always separated to the distance of two or three lines; they were applied to them by their lower surface. On detaching them from the shell, it was remarked, that they had introduced between its valves, large round vesicles, with very thin walls, and filled with a transpa-` rent fluid. Each asterias presented five pendent vesicles, arranged symmetrically about the mouth. These vesicles were of unequal size: two of them were commonly larger, and about the size of a very large hazel-nut; the other three were not larger than a pea. They appear to be connected with the animal by a very short and narrow peduncle. At the other extremity was a round open hole, through which the fluid, contained in the vesicle, flowed gently, and drop by drop. The walls of these vesicles were very thin; the upper half, however, was thicker than the other and longitudinally wrinkled. At the end of a few seconds, the vesicles having contracted and discharged their contents, were scarcely larger than a grain of ordinary shot. When the sea had left the asteriæ some moments dry, they quitted the animal which they were in the act of sucking, and immediately after, the place of the vesicles could no longer be distinguished. The shells, that had been seized

upon by these animals, were found in various states of destruction; some so far gone as to have only the adductor muscles remaining; but all of them had lost the faculty of closing their valves, and appeared to be dead. If testacea be the ordinary food of the asteriæ, an enormous quantity of them must be destroyed, if we may judge by the number of these animals. M. Deslongchamps inclines to the opinion that the asteriæ attack the mactræ while the latter are still alive, and that, probably, by means of some fluid, capable of producing torpor, they force them to open their shells, and thus allow the introduction of the singular bodies described, and which act as suckers. He is the more inclined to think so, that none of the mactræ, which he examined, had the least smell, or presented any other indication of having been dead for any time. It must, however, be remembered, that bivalve shells of this, or any other analogous species, tossed about by the waves, are no longer in their natural state, but have been raised from their native haunts under the sand, either by boisterous weather, or after intense frost, by even a scarcely more than ordinarily troubled state of the sea. Shells in this state are frequently observed on our shores. In some the animals are dead, in others so much weakened, as to be unable to close their shells, while others may, at least after gales, be for a time apparently as sound as ever. Now, it is more than probable, that the aste riæ could only attack those which were absolutely dead or dying, and from which the insertion of their suckers could experience no opposition; for it would be impossible for them to insinuate even a pretty solid substance, much less a mere vesicle, between the closed valves of a living shell; and, on the other hand, how should the asteria contrive to make the shell of a vigorous animal open, in order to let them throw in their imagined torporiferous fluid?


7. Conclusions of M. Dureau de la Malle's Inquiries, respecting the Ancient History, Origin, and Native Country of the Cereales, and especially Wheat (Triticum hibernum and aestivum), and Barley (Hordeum vulgare and hexastichon).

1. That the city of Nysa, the native country of wheat and barley, is the same as Scythopolis or Bethsané, and is situated in the valley of the Jordan. 2. That the identity of the wheat and barley, anciently cultivated in Egypt and Palestine, with our Cereales, is certain. 3. That the habitat of all the vegetables, animals, and minerals, indicated by the most ancient monuments, as existing in the country of barley and wheat, has been confirmed beyond doubt. 4. That the comparison of the various zodiacs, the migrations of the worship of Ceres, confirm this origin of the Cercales. 5. That the greater number of species of the genera Triticum, Hordeum, and Secale, whose habitat is known, being indigenous in the East, the testimony of history accords sufficiently with the rules of criticism established by science; and that the valley of the Jordan, the chain of Libanus, or the part of Palestine and Syria, which borders upon Arabia, may with great probability be assigned to our Cereales, as their native country.

8. Instructions for Collecting and Preparing Fungi for Herbariums, and for Preserving them from the Attacks of Insects and their Larve. By M. C. H. PERSOON.-A few words regarding the proper time for gathering Fungi, and the localities in which they are found, precede these useful instructions. The following are the principal rules of preservation given by this celebrated mycologist:-1. To gather the coriaceous and suberose fungi, before they begin to get old, lest they should contain germs of destruction, the most formidable of which are the eggs of insects, and to expose them from time to time to the rays of the sun. 2. To subject to pressure, without squeezing too much, the thinner species, to change the pa→ per often, and expose them to the open air. 3. To leave in the open air, until perfectly dry, the gelatinous fungi, such as the Tremella, Auricularia, &c. When immersed in water, they resume their original form and colours. 4. To model in wax, or immerse in weak spirits, the species whose forms cannot be exactly preserved. 5. To gather the Lycoperdineœ when half mature, and let them dry in the air, that they may bear a slight degree of compression, without being deformed. 6. To preserve the Trichiacea and Isaria, which grow upon chrysalids, in small boxes furnished with cotton, in order to retain

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

their delicate forms, which would be destroyed by the slightest shock. 7. To dry, in the usual manner, by a moderate degree of pressure, in grey paper, the Fungoids of a thin and papyra ceous consistence, as well as the epiphyllous fungosities. 8. Lastly, After complete desiccation, to inclose them in paper bags, to prevent the attacks of insects and worms, and especially to defend them against the contact of foreign bodies. In this manner, says the author of the Synopsis Fungorum, these productions may be preserved for a long time, in order to compare them with one another, examine them without fear of losing them, and communicate them to others.

9. Effects of certain Manures on the qualities of Plants.Among the fertilizers of the soil, high importance is attached, and deservedly, to that mass of matter which results from the process of putrefaction upon organic substances undergoing cor-/ ruption after death. By reason of its efficacy, it is assiduously procured to fertilize poor soils, to renovate exhausted ones, and prevent good ones from wearing out. Animal manures have a peculiar rankness. Some of them stimulate, or, it may almost be said, cauterize with vehemence. Hence they require admixture of milder materials to mitigate their force. Yet, after the offal and scrapings of large cities, have been mingled with soil in such proportion as not to destroy the life of plants, but to promote their vegetation, they have been considered as com municating, in many cases, a disgusting or offensive quality to some of the vegetables they nourish. They have been charged i» with imparting a biting and acrimonious taste to radishes and turnips. Cabbages are less sapid and delicate. Potatoes have been observed to borrow the foul taint of the ground. It has "} been traced to the bulb of the onion. Millers observe a strong. and disagreeable odour, in the meal of wheat that grew upon land highly charged with rotten recrements of cities. The like deterioration of quality, has even been remarked in tobacco rais-># ed in cow-pens. And stable-dung has been accused of impart ing a disagreeable flavour to asparagus. It seems as if someo portion of the foul matter of the manure was absorbed by the vegetable radicles, and, after passing unassimilated through the **** sap-vessels, was converted by the process of nutrition to living substances. This condition of the vegetable species, seems to

« ПредишнаНапред »